South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings File photo

Cannings introduces bill for species at risk

MP says loophole has been used to delay or deny protection for species deemed to be at risk

MP Richard Cannings has introduced a bill to amend the Species at Risk Act.

On Sept. 22, Cannings, the MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, introduced Bill C-363 to close a loophole in the act.

He said the loophole has been used to delay or deny protection for species deemed to be at risk.

Cannings said from 2011 to 2015, 82 species were assessed as needing protection, but the federal government made no decisions about listing.

“The Species at Risk Act was designed to provide governments with a transparent and timely process to accept scientific advice on which species require protection,” he said.

“Under the Act, that advice comes from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and the Minister has nine months to make a decision — to list or not — after receiving that advice. Unfortunately the previous Conservative government found the wording of the Act ambiguous and chose to completely ignore those timelines.”

The bill amends the act to start the clock when the advice is received.

It will also give the Minister of Environment and Climate Change one year to make a decision whether a species will be added to the lists in the acts.

“I hope the government will support this Bill and return the Species at Risk Act to its original intent and force,” Cannings said.